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The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer Hardcover – July 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0312349288 ISBN-10: 0312349289 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312349289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312349288
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This stomach-turning account of the multiple atrocities committed over 43 years by Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski—as sadistic a killer as most readers would ever want to encounter in print—seems like more of an as-told-to than an independent journalistic narrative, though Carlo says that he verified Kuklinski's accounts where possible. But rather than critically assess Kuklinski's largely self-serving tales of his roles in such major mob killings as those of Jimmy Hoffa and Gambino boss Paul Castellano, Carlo (The Night Stalker) seems to accept them. Instead of applying objective insight into how such a murderer—who researched methods that would prolong his victims' suffering—came to be, the author presents instead chapter after chapter of Kuklinski summarily killing criminals he was hired to eliminate or randomly gunning down someone on the street to test out a new weapon. By disregarding the questions raised by Mafia experts such as Jerry Capeci about Kuklinski's credibility, Carlo has fumbled an opportunity. Sloppy errors (e.g., Rudy Giuliani served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District) also detract from the book, which ends with a bizarre invitation to the reader to write to Kuklinski at the Trenton State Prison. (July 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Richard Kuklinski, the Ice Man of the title, has told his story before in a variety of forums, including books and videos. Here Carlo tells Kuklinski's story more or less straight from the killer's mouth, with little verification or questioning. Given Kuklinski's grandiose claims, such as participation in the unsolved murder of Jimmy Hoffa, this produces a narrative of unrelieved horror. Kuklinski reveled not only in killing but also in the suffering of his victims, and here he emphasizes how he compartmentalized his life so that his family was shielded from the nastiness of his trade. Other than fulsome detail, not much new about Kuklinski is relayed. Carlo's presentation of Kuklinski uninterrupted does, however, make for nice comparative reading with the killer's wife's book, Married to the Iceman (1994). Good as an omnibus resource on Kuklinski, this is a fine entry in the burgeoning field of works tracing the decline of the traditional organized crime families and their once impenetrable structures. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Once I started reading this book I could not put it down.
Matthew Happaney
I am not even half way through the book and love the story of this man, even if some people think it's weird that I am reading about a man who killed people as a job.
Richard L. Hogan
I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about true crime.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Catiline on July 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've studied NYC, NJ & Philly OC for over 20 years now. I've read 100's of books on this subject including the one by Anthony Bruno about Kuklinski about 10 years ago. Some by cops, some by feds, some by rats, some by reporters. Nowhere have I ever read, even hinted at, the more outragous claims made by Richard (Iceman) Kuklinski. A couple of the more unbelievable.

Paul (Big Paul) Castellano Shooting. HE WAS NOT THERE. This was planned and executed by "The Fist" a faction of Gambino's dissatisfied for a number of reasons with his leadership. The Fist was made up of John Gotti, Angelo Ruggerio, Frankie DeCicco, Robert (DeBee) Debenardo, and Sammy Bull Gravano. Others in the family (Gene Gotti, Joe Gallo, et al) knew of the plot, but it emulated and was executed primarily by the Bergin crew headed by Gotti. Below are the shooters. NONE was paid cash to participate. The payment was power within the Gambino's hierarchy after Big Paul was dead. There is NO WAY Gravano would have asked or Gotti would have approved of an unknown shooter being brought into the plot as a freelance mercenary.

John Carneglia Primary shooter, target Castellano, in front of Sparks,

Vincent Artuso Primary shooter, target Castellano, in front of Sparks,

Eddie Lino Primary shooter, target Billotti, in front of Sparks,

Salvatore (Fat Sally) Scala, Primary shooter, target Billotti, in front of Sparks,

Dominick (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Anthony (Tony Roach) Rampino, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Angelo (Quack Quack) Ruggerio, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Joe (The German)Watts, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St.
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49 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Edward D. Terhune on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer Jeffrey Johnson below sort of stole most of my thunder, and I basically would concur with the majority of what he said. My reaction to this book was similar to his. Upon first starting it, some warning lights went off for me. I'm always nervous about "real-life" books where the author changes the names of characters. I understand a reporter needing to protect his sources, but Mr. Carlo doesn't indicate what names he's changing or why (Ponti crime family?), which basically renders this "true-crime" book valueless as a research tool. The good news is that Carlo has written an engrossing book (although after slogging through the first dozen or so murders and/or mutilations, the reader does become a bit numb). Bad news? At least 40% on what's in this book is bogus, in my opinion, and I'm probably being conservative. Like Mr. Johnson, I don't believe Kuklinski killed anyone with a horde of ravenous rats and filmed it for the delectation of his underworld employer (in bucolic Bucks County yet!), I don't believe Kuklinski killed Paul Castellano, assisted in the "hit" on Jimmy Hoffa, knew Roy De Meo or worked for him or killed him, I don't believe he ever met Nino Gaggi, had anything to do with the slaying of Carmine Galante, etc. etc. There's enough empirical evidence that Kuklinski was a brutal, psychopathic killer, but if Carlo had been a less credulous chronicler of Kuklinski's torturous life and criminal career, he might have been more competently able to separate incidents that actually happened from incidents that happened only in Kuklinski's fevered imagination. It's a shame...Read more ›
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus J. Winiarski Winiarski Jr. on July 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book but it just has too much going against it. First, it is extremely repetitive. If you read the book, count the number of times the author mentions that Richard grew to hate his father or his mother. Count the number of times the reader is informed that Barbara has come to despise Richard, or that his family is the only thing Richard ever cared about or that Richard just has no human emotion or empathy. This book could have been about one third as long if all the repetitive garble had been excluded.

Second the killings Richard confeses to (takes credit for) encompass nearly (if not all) of the most celebrated mafia hits of the last half of the 20th century. Jimmy Hoffa, Carmine Galante, Paul Castelano, John Favara etc. Pretty impressive if true but seems unlikely. To me it's like saying one man was responsible for the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, and, oh yes, John Lennon too.

Overall, this is an interesting read only if taken with a huge grain of salt.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By iread2much on July 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is an entertaining read. The thing that amazes me most is that so many people turned their critical thinking off when reading it. This book reminds of the movie with Kaiser Soze, the scene where the detective looks around at the room and realizes that Soze was just was making things up using names etc. that he saw on the walls and the bottom of the coffee cup. It's interesting that Kuklinski liked to watch CLint Eastwood gunning down multiple bad guys in a matter of seconds with his revolver after he had just gunned down multiple bad guys with his revolver. I mean really. This guy is out committing multiple homicides at rest stops, shooting people in road rage incidents and nobody ever saw anything. I am also amazed at how chivalrous this CHARACTER is. No women, no children, always faithful to his wife and like Clint Eastwood he faces down and exterminates the thugs who don't have the chivalrous code of honor that he lives by.

Do you think that a "contract-killer" would leave his "mark" alive in a cave to be devoured by rats? I mean forget the whole camera/motion-detector/lights bs. His livelihood and his family's quality of life required that he carry out those contracts right? He must have valued that "superstar assassin" status right? So...would that type of killer leave the mark that he is paid to kill alive and bound in a cave? No. Because doing that would have risked everything...his life, his family, his reputation. A professional "contract-killer" will not leave you alive and bound in a cave because it would open the possibility for escape. And that is one thing that he would have made sure could not happen by killing his victim before he left the scene.

If Kuklinski had been present at the Hoffa thing...Kuklinski would have died shortly thereafter.
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